2023 / 11 / 5
Monica Maurer. . . The most enthusiastic advocates of the Palestinian cause
By: Adnan Hussein Ahmed
The independent German -dir-ector Monica Maurer, who currently resides in Rome, is one of the most enthusiastic advocates of the Palestinian cause and its defender in international forums. She has devoted most of her life to this issue from the mid-seventies until now, and has completed ten documentary films that have toured in many international festivals, including “The Palestinian Red Crescent” in 1978, “The Fifth War” in 1980, “Born out of Death” in 1981, and “The War Lab” 1984 and “Let Us Listen” 1985. Her films are intertwined with Fairuz s songs and the poems of Tawfiq Ziad and Mahmoud Darwish. It combines “voice over” technology based on accurate information with “talking heads” that speak spontaneously, touching people’s hearts and inner feelings. All her films won several awards and participated in a number of International Festivals such as Bilbao, Cairo, Carthage, Cannes Fifa, Cracow, Karlovy Vary, Leipzig, Lille, Moscow, Oberhausen, San Francisco, Tampere, Tashkent, and Toronto. In order to shed light on her -dir-ecting experience and her political and intellectual views regarding the Palestinian issue. In this interview, we spoke with German -dir-ector Monica Maurer about her documentaries and her political and intellectual views on the Palestinian issue.
*Do you believe there is a strategy to exterminate the Palestinian people and replace the indigenous population of Palestine with Jews from different parts of the world?
-given the dramatic situation on the ground in Gaza it seems to me that it is without the usual hypocrisy these times in the West, to remember to those who have no´-or-too little historical memory - that the butchery, the on-going Nakba, the crimes against Humanity against the Palestinian population of GAZA is not only - as frequently said in the misinforming media -result of the 7th October Hamas attack on Jewish settlements, but rather part of an Israeli strategy of annihilating the Palestinian people: a gradual Genocide, part of a project of ethnic cleansing that has started in 48´-or-even before, with the objective to substitute the indigenous people of Palestine with Jews from all over the world (often Russia´-or-Brooklyn NYC). I myself have been a testimony of this in the 1982 War of Invasion and Siege (of Beirut) against the Palestinians in Lebanon killing and mutilating thousands (more than 70% of whom Civilians, Women, children, and elderly people who could not escape)- it was the same strategy, almost same images, maybe today worse because of the increase of kill-power: first bombard the hospitals, al the civilian infrastructure water, electricity, fuel for generators etc. Resulting in 800,000 refugees without shelter, homes destroyed danger of infectious diseases, and thus epidemics and the destruction of a possible future for thousands of minors. The use of weapons forbidden by International Law, such as Phosphorus and Fragmentation shells, implosion Bombs, and Gas- and all that was more than 40 years ago, and Hamas wasn t even born then.
*Did you focus in the film "Children of Palestine" on depriving Palestinian children of their human rights,´-or-did you go further than that to the issues of occupation, displacement, and ethnic cleansing?
- "Children of Palestine" is a documentary I made in 1979 (UN YEAR OF THE CHILD) for the PLO produced by the PALESTINIAN CINEMA INSTITUTION - UNIFIED INFORMATION in Beirut to describe how far the " International Declaration of the Rights of Children" is denied to Palestinian children, because of their displacement from their homeland and a continuous state of War and aggression by Israel as part of their project of Ethnic Cleansing and Occupation, which eliminates fundamental rights such as for Life, Unity of the Family, to grow up in safety, to have education, health care and to develop a national identity and creative talents.
All these rights that should be guaranteed as claimed by the UN Charta are denied to the Children of Palestine in Occupied Palestine and the diaspora, in particular in Lebanon. Yet it shows at the same time the social, educational, and medical infrastructure the PLO had built on the ground to ease the life of the Refugees in the Camps, and the attachment of the children to their original homeland Palestine, even if they have so far never had the chance to see it. The Film had several Awards in various Festivals, including the International Jury Prize in the Leipzig Documentary Film Festival in 1979.
*Is there a difference between the images of siege and genocide between yesterday and today?
-During the Israeli War of Invasion into Lebanon and the 3 months Siege of Beirut Thousands were killed and mutilated, and more than 800,000 were homeless. A great majority (over 70%) of the wounded and killed were Civilians, mainly Women and Children and elderly people who had no possibility to flee. The military strategy and many images were the same as these days in the genocide War against Gaza: heavy and incessant bombardments on civilian centres-;- first the Hospitals, vital infrastructure such as Water, Electricity, and Fuel, as well as deposits of Food supplies - all this 40 years before Hamas even existed, yet the aim was to destroy any organized presence of the PLO in Lebanon, then Headquarter of the Palestinian Resistance. This documentary toured for years all over Europe, South and North America, and Canada and was distributed in Japan. It treats 3 issues rarely´-or-insufficiently stressed by the International Media:
1-Civilians as part of a military objective-;-
2- The use of Weapons (implosion and phosphorus bombs, fragmentation shells) often made in the US prohibited by International Law-;-
3-the Organization of Civil Defence - of Survival: drill access to Ground Water, prevention of epidemics public bakeries, installation of alternative clinics and hospitals in relatively safe areas.
*How do you describe your film “Palestine In Flames” Is it a study of the historical roots of the intifada?
-“Palestine In Flames” is an audio-visual compound about the political and historical roots of the First Intifada. Unlike the then frequent de-script-ion as a "Spontaneous Uprising,” I try to illustrate that the core of the Intifada was the struggle for the Land (Al ARD) which started long before the Nakba, with the Zionist Colonization in early 1900 the British Mandatory Occupation that ultimately prepared the ground for the Zionist project of a Jewish State of Israel in Palestine.